What's the rush to add a 5th Starter?
Fresh off the heals of Milton Bradley's signing Hendry has come out and stated that he would like to add another pitcher, for either the rotation or the bullpen. I can't argue trading for Jake Peavy much, as he is far better than anything the team would give up to get him, but I can't see the logic in adding another mediocre pitcher (such as a Tim Redding, who praise Jesus agreed to a 1 yr deal w the Mets).
I think the need to fill the 5th starter slot is being a bit overhyped, and there are other needs the team should address instead. A team's 5th starter is usually sqeezed at the beginning and end of each season, where with extra off-days the team can skip the 5th spot in the rotation if they so choose. So basically, a team's 5th starter isn't usually getting the ball in April, September, or the Playoffs. Look at the role Marquis played in 2008; the cubs will need to find someone to replace the 28 starts and 167 innings he threw, but I think there are players already on the roster very capable of filling that vacancy. Guys like Chad Gaudin, Sean Marshall, Kevin Hart, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman, Randy Wells, and Smardjz could all fill the void. Where even if no one guy throws lights out, I would bet that you could get 28 starts out of those 7 guys while getting similar numbers that Marquis would have put up. I would argue that getting a reliable lefty for the bullpen is a greater need than finding the 8th cadidate for the 5th starter role.
Assume that the cubs land Peavy tomorrow, and the Megatron Rotation comes together; with Peavy, Zambrano, Lilly, Harden, & Dempster. This also means that Ryan Dempster is slotted into that spot in the rotation that could be skipped 5-10 times throughout the regular season and the same spot in the rotation that won't exist in a Playoff Series. So if Demp is willing to pitch in any role, then adding Peavy makes sense. Then again, having a staff with 3 out of 5 starters being somewhat injury prone, it could make sense to use a 5th starter for the entire season to limit each pitchers' starts and give them extra rest days throughout the regular season. If the cubs had the Megaton Rotation, and all 5 guys took the ball every time they were supposed to start then each member of the rotation would get 32 starts minimum.
Zambrano has made 30+ starts in each of the last 6 seasons.
Peavy has made 30+ starts in 4 of the last 6 seasons.
Ted Lilly has made 30+ starts in 5 of the last 6 seasons.
Rich Harden has made 30+ starts 1 time in the last 6 seasons.
Ryan Dempster has made 30+ starts 1 time in the last 6 seasons but he did make 30+ starts in 3 other seasons earlier in his career.
The rotation could work for the first 162 games, but it could be tricky to find a way to utilize 5 starters in a 5 or 7 game series when the Playoffs roll around. Dempster could add some stability to the bullpen assuming he could effectively go from being a starter to a reliever at the end of the season, but thats tough to do and a lot to assume. Another possibility is putting Rich Harden in the 5th spot in the rotation, where he can be skipped easiest if he needs extra time between starts since he is the highest risk for injury. In any case, I would love to see Jake Peavy on the roster, but if the team can't complete the trade to get him then I think the cubs should look to add a lefty reliever to the bullpen.